Don Brady sends this memory –

We did not have digital radar in the TRACON 25 years ago when I was an air traffic controller. With our analog radar, spring and fall waterfowl migrations of ducks, geese, and cranes always created a cluster of raw radar returns on the scope. It was one of those days when the scope was almost white with more raw radar returns coming from flocks of birds than from transponder-equipped or non-transponder-equipped aircraft returns (of which there were and still are MANY in Alaska!). It is always a long flight to Alaska, and the captain was chatty, with a sense of humor. Delta checks on with the standard information arriving the airport. ... DAL 123: "XXX approach, this is DAL 123 descending out of 8,000 with information Bravo. Direct the VOR." ... Approach (me): "DAL123, XXX approach. Traffic 12 o'clock, five miles opposite direction, altitude unknown. Multiple targets, most likely waterfowl." ... DAL: "Approach, how do you know that? Do they have a transponder?" ... Approach: "DAL 123, no sir, but they are squawking!" -- Dan Brady

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